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Rototiller Pulls Wheelchair
Being in a wheelchair doesn't stop Don Bragdon, London, Ark., from getting around his farm thanks to a rototiller he converted to tow him anywhere he wants to go.
"My friends and family kept after me to get an electric wheelchair. I didn't want one because they're heavy, clumsy and expensive. Besides, I'm too stubborn," he admits.

He found the perfect solution at a neighbor's farm in an old Sears rototiller with a seized engine.

Using its frame, gears and clutch, he replaced the dead engine with a 5 1/2 hp Honda vertical fitted with an extra long shaft engine with 2-in. spacers between the engine and tiller base. This let him put a 6-in. V-belt pulley between the engine base and clutch.

Then, he put a Volkswagen starter on the side of the engine and replaced the starter drive gear with a 2-in. V-belt pulley.

The starter mounts on a spring-loaded swivel. He pushes on a lever which expends back to this wheelchair to tighten the belt when starting the engine, and then it loosens the belt again when the engine's running so the starter's not turning.

For starting the engine, he has a button wired to a safety switch. The starter drive belt has to be tight before the starter engages.

The rotor's worm gear type transmission means no brakes. "When going down the hill, it doesn't get away from you. You don't need a brake because when you stop the engine, it stops right there," he says.

He replaced the tines with two 13-in. rims and tires. Two 6-in. swivel castors fit the back of the tiller.

A 1-in. sq. tube that's 14 in. long mounts on the back of the castors that hook to the wheelchair's floor plate with a pin welded to the bottom. This pin drops into a 1/2-in. dia. hole previously drilled into the wheelchair floor plate which pulls the chair around. A 1/4-in. dia. by 20-in. long round lever welded vertically to the top of the tube allows him to hook and unhook the tube easily.

Later, he added a draw bar on the back of the wheelchair to pull a small utility trailer when spraying for weeds or insects. He also pulls a lawn sweeper with it.

A 12-volt battery powers lights so he can use it at night.
"It takes me all over the place. If I didn't have that thing, I don't know what I'd do," he says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Don Bragdon, 426 Rnd. Mtn. Ln., London, Arkansas 72847 (ph 479 293-4256; email: dona@arkansas.net).

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2005 - Volume #29, Issue #2